My son is fond of saying that to properly appreciate the news, one must triangulate it. It is not enough to listen to one reporting source, or even one medium. It is necessary to search for differing presentations of the important issues of our day. I agree with him, as i often do. I try to check a variety of news sources to ensure that I am getting as broad a picture as possible. I have a list of favorite print media, several TV and radio news outlets and opinion commentaries that I try to check regularly. I have noticed however, that my attempts at triangulation have come up rather flat and need to be changed. Let me explain.
It has become obvious to me that it is not only necessary to triangulate the news, it is necessary to triangulate it in a way that exposes one to viewpoints and opinions that might be disagreeable and infuriating. This means moving away from the usual suspects, who often present a political bias to what should be reporting more like it used to be. Anyone remember Sgt. Friday’s famous line? “Just the facts, ma’am.”, or has anyone watched news sources originating outside the US whose basic approach to news is to just present the news and let the viewer decide? It is interesting that in those sources, who do not regularly fill their screens with pundit panels, there is actually time for an overview of what is happening in the world….the whole world….not just Washington, D.C. Imagine that.
I digress. The simple message of this message is to say that we all need to develop a variety of news sources. We must also include in that variety the sources with whom we will not agree. We need to subject ourselves to the torture of listening to the viewpoints of the other camp, no matter how excruciating it may be. For many, it would mean tuning in to “leftist commie pinko”. “bleeding heart” pronouncements on the day’s events. For others, it will mean listening to severe and simplistic interpretations of the news with little or no verification of facts and lots of outright falsehoods and hard-to-swallow spin. Oh, the humanity!
I realize that in that last paragraph I may have exposed my political bias. I admit it, and for my punishment, I will be taking my own medicine this evening and tuning in to Fox News. However, a strange thing may happen…..At least I will hear what they really think, I may even hear something that makes me think the other side may not be all wrong and my own views not all right. Perchance the beginnings of some common ground?
Hmm…if we were to practice this on a national level, we just might find that rare, sweet spot called bi-partisanship. Triangulate that.